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As Good as Gold

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If anyone’s the walking embodiment of everything-not-Chris-Bradford, it’s probably Usagi Miyamoto. He’s the coolest, most polished, most refined person Raphael has ever seen walk up his dirt driveway. 

“He’s here!” Mikey hollers over his shoulder into the rest of the house, and Raphael watches Leonardo bury his face in his hands at the immediate response of thundering feet through the parlor and down the stairs. “You guys hurry up he’s coming up to the porch oh my god.” 

Even father is peering over their heads out the front window. “Go and greet your guest, Leonardo,” he says mildly. The only thing giving away his amusement is the bright gleam in his eyes. Leonardo looks happy to escape them. 

“Wow,” April says, “Leo has good taste. That must run in the family.”

She leans her head on Donatello’s shoulder sweetly as she says it, but her smirk is anything but. Casey reaches over to slap her a high-five, and Woody meets Raph’s deadpan expression with a crooked grin.

“She ain’t wrong, amigo. If anything, Usagi came a long way just to see him. Even after Leo warned him about us.” Which Leo did, over the phone, red-faced and flustered, three days before Usagi’s arrival during Christmas break, while his siblings and newly adopted siblings cat-called and jeered good-naturedly at him from all sides. “That’s pure devotion.” 

“Dudes, look,” Mikey whispers. “Usagi brought him something.” 

It looks like a book, one just barely bigger than his hand, and from the only clear glance Raph gets at the cover it’s not written in English. But Leo steps closer eagerly, and they bow their heads together with matching smiles while their breath mists and mingles in the cold December air. 

Usagi, with his neat button down and sweater vest and expensive-looking jacket and reserved mannerisms – standing on their worn, wheezing wooden veranda in the middle of a snowy South Dakota country winter – almost looks really out of place.

Almost, but not quite – because there’s quiet adoration in his face for the whole world to see, standing there next to Leo; watching him talk about whatever little book they’re sharing, eyes bright in a cold-flushed face, as though there’s nothing more interesting to look at for miles.

And just like that, it’s as though their little world shifts to include him. With all the other extreme personalities that have found a way to fit into their family, Raphael doesn’t think Usagi will have a hard time creating his own niche. 

“C’mon,” April says abruptly, throwing an arm around Raphael’s shoulders and tugging Casey from the window by the back of his hoodie. “We left the movie playing. Those two will catch up eventually.” 

They do, eventually. Flushed from more than cold, Leo dusts snow off his shoulders and says, “Everyone, this is Usagi. Please try not to be yourselves at him too loudly? And maybe save the torment for tomorrow? He’s had a long drive.” 

He’s nervous. It’s kind of adorable. But before anyone else has a chance to say anything, Mikey pats the seat next to him on the sofa and says, “Pull up some blanket, dude,” with a kind, disarming smile. 

Usagi softens for him almost immediately, looking entire years younger, and clambers into the spot between him and Woody with a crooked grin at their playful jostling. 

Leo takes a seat on the floor next to April, leaning his back against Usagi’s legs. Usagi reaches down unthinkingly to push gentle fingers through his hair. 

Donatello and Casey catch each other’s eyes and have to quickly look away again, shoulders trembling with repressed laughter. Similarly, Raphael finds himself grinning at nothing in particular as Mikey does his best to catch Usagi up on the majority of the movie that he’s missed and Leo cradles a little book in careful hands. 

“Could’ve been worse,” Casey says later on, when everyone’s going to bed. “But I don’t think it could’ve been any better.” 

Raphael pauses on the stairs, watching Leo climb up to sit beside his boyfriend on the newly vacated sofa. They’re talking in soft voices in the warmly lit living room, finally alone together at close to four in the morning. 

They sound tired and happy. 

“Yeah,” Raphael says, with a fondness he would fight over before he would admit to. “Could have been worse.”